If you are on Instagram or Pinterest at all, you can’t help but run into a lot of hygge-inspired photography. (The photo at the top of this post isn’t mine, but the smaller ones below are.)
Hygge is the Danish concept of coziness, comfort, warmth, and charm that gets Danes through the long, cold, dark winters. It’s about enjoying and indulging in the small things, even when the environment around you is much less hospitable or pleasurable. That’s why hygge is a perfect self-care and #CALMnotBUSY concept for nonprofit communicators!
Let’s address the pronunciation right away. It’s not Hig-ee or High-Jee. It’s more like Hue-Geh. Listen here.
I am especially interested in upping the hygge factor at my office right now because I hate winter — and we all know winter is coming. I’m at my most depressed in the winter months. I also have Raynaud’s so I’m very often physically uncomfortable and highly annoyed when I am cold. Plus, my great-great-grandparents were Danish immigrants, so I’m also claiming hygge as family heritage.
I have a home office, so my choices are a bit more diverse than those of you who work in open floor plans or shared office space may be able to manage. But many of these suggestions can work anywhere.
Here are a dozen ways to up the hygge in your office . . .
1. Live Plants.
I’ve added several new colorful plants around my desk. African violets don’t take much space and will bloom even with a lot of neglect. These blooms just opened today.
I also have a nice big croton plant right behind my computer monitor so it’s in my peripheral vision while I am typing.
I’ve brought a blanket from our living room into my office. I also have a soft fleece shawl on my chair.
3. Mug Warmer.
I plugged the mug warmer back in not just to keep the tea hot, but so I can hold a warm mug in my hands.
4. Soft Socks and Slippers.
Who needs real shoes when you are sitting behind a computer most of the day? All I want for Christmas is more thick, warm, fuzzy socks. Clever designs are a bonus.
5. Essential Oils.
Most scented products give me headaches, so I have been slow to get on the essential oils bandwagon. But after trying a few from DoTERRA this summer, I’m sold. I’m still figuring out what I like during the day, but am leaning toward the citrus and spice oils. I love lavender, but I use that when I sleep, so it’s not good for work.
Best to run both scents and sounds that will make their way into co-workers’ spaces by them first. Or use very sparingly — just a drop or two on the little pad inside this locket is perfect. I can smell it without needing to diffuse it through the whole room. (The necklace was a Black Friday gift to self!)
6. Bird Feeders Outside the Window.
I’ve filled up several bird feeders outside my window after neglecting them all summer — the birds had other options. Watching them is a nice visual break from the computer screen.
7. Shells in Wooden Bowls.
I love the forest and the beach. I have a couple of small hand-carved wooden bowls on my desk filled with odd shaped and colored shells I’ve collected over the years. They remind me of relaxing vacations and warmer times.
8. Candles in the Fireplace.
I have a fireplace in my office that has never had a fire in it since we moved into this house. My office is in what used to be considered the formal living room in our 60’s rancher. Instead of a fire, I have battery-operated LED pillar candles in there, and when I want to sit quietly and read “by the fire,” I turn them on flicker mode.
Three cats have access to my office and I encourage them to spend time with me during the day. Cassie is especially fond of looking out the window and watching the birds from the top of my office chair. And you can’t get more hygge than resting your head back on a big fat kitty. Some of you may recall hearing another cat, Luna, meow loudly during webinars . . . she is our diva and much less hygge than Cassie!
10. Better Lighting.
Even though I sit by a window, it’s west-facing under tall oaks, so it doesn’t provide that much light. The overhead light is not much help, so I’ve added several tall floor lamps to help fill the room with more light. I also have a desktop light therapy box for when it’s super dark and gloomy outside. When you read about creating a hygge atmosphere, it often includes low light. For me personally, soft yet bright light in the winter is much more comforting.
11. Space Heater.
Sitting by the window can get really cold in the middle of winter. The space heater takes the chill off.
12. Nice Office Supplies.
Office supply geeks, this last one is for you! Sometimes just handwriting notes with a colored pen in a nice notebook is all you need to feel better about the world.
How are you adding hygge to your workspace or work day to improve your #npcommlife?